Monday, August 18, 2014

The House of the Four Winds by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory (Book 1 of One Dozen Daughters)

Book Synopsis

Mercedes Lackey is the New York Times bestselling author of the Valdemar series and romantic fantasies like Beauty and the Werewolf and The Fairy Godmother. JAMES MALLORY and Lackey have collaborated on six novels. Now, these New York Times and USA Today bestselling collaborators bring romance to the fore with The House of Four Winds.

The rulers of tiny, impoverished Swansgaard have twelve daughters and one son. While the prince’s future is assured, his twelve sisters must find their own fortunes.

Disguising herself as Clarence, a sailor, Princess Clarice intends to work her way to the New World. When the crew rebels, Clarice/Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick, and kills the cruel captain.

Dominick leads the now-outlawed crew in search of treasure in the secret pirate haven known as The House of Four Winds. They encounter the sorceress Shamal, who claims Dominick for her own—but Clarice has fallen hard for Dominick and won’t give him up without a fight.

Full of swashbuckling adventure, buoyant magic, and irrepressible charm, The House of the Four Winds is a lighthearted fantasy romp by a pair of bestselling writers.


The beautiful and dramatic cover of this novel instantly drew my attention. I enjoy historical fantasy novels where the worlds recreated are realistic and close to real history, so this book was a perfect fit for my tastes. The tale is set in a 17th or 18th century world. The prologue, which reads like a Grimm’s fairy tale, describes the premise behind the series, where twelve princesses must make their way in the world due to a lack of funding for their dowries. The first of the princesses to set out is Clarice, talented with the sword and rapier. Disguised as a young man named Clarence, she hopes to sail to the new world to make her fortune. Unfortunately, her choice of ship is not a lucky one and she soon finds herself embroiled with pirates, a power struggle between a powerful sorceress, and Dominick, one of the leading sailors, in a relentless quest for a missing treasure. 

I enjoyed the story because it was realistic and believable with only a touch of fantasy. It was a great light read and a fabulous escape. The ship and its workings was realistically written, and the characters seemed authentic too. I loved the fairytale style premise of the twelve princesses that will launch further stories as each of the princesses come of age and make their way out into the world. This novel had plenty of fight scenes, intrigue, and a slow burgeoning romance that did not overpower the story. I would have liked the facts surrounding the treasure to be made more apparent as to what it was and what it would be used for. The story held my interest to the very end and it was very well written, and I will most definitely read a future book in the series. A great book by two wonderfully talented writers.

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